Europe, was the son of Mnesarchus,an engraver. He was
born about the year 580 B.C.,either at Samos, an island in the
Aegean Sea, or, as some say, at Sidon in Phoenicia. Very little
is known of his early life, beyond
the fact that he won prizes for feats of agility at the Olympic Games. Having
attained manhood and feeling dissatisfied with the
amount of knowledge to be gained at home, he left his
native land and spent many years in travel, visiting in
turn most of the great centers of Learning.
History narrates that his pilgrimage in search of wisdom extended
to Egypt, Hindostan, Persia, Crete and Palestine, and
that he gathered from each country fresh stores of information,
and succeeded in becoming well acquainted
with the Esoteric Wisdom as well as with the popular
exoteric knowledge of each.
The school of Pythagoras has several peculiar characteristics.
Every new member was obliged to pass a period
of five years of contemplation in perfect silence the
members held everything in common, and rejected animal
food they were believers in the doctrine of metempsychosis,
and were inspired with an ardent and implicit
faith in their founder and teacher.
No person was permitted to commit to writing any tenet, or
secret doctrine, and, so far as is known, no
pupil ever broke the rule until after his death
and the dispersion of the school.
The most striking peculiarities of his doctrines are dependent
on the mathematical conceptions, numerical
ideas and impersonations upon which his philosophy